Thursday, January 31, 2013

Templars Sanguine WIP

  Here he is, the first of the Templars Sanguine in the new livery.  Highlights and washes applied.  I think it's better than my first attempts, by a long shot.  I attribute a lot of this to the How to Paint video...

  Anyhow, a 360degree view follows.  Still debating on the black or the red Templar icon decal for the left pauldrons...

For the Rest of the Pics... hit the "Read More" thingy ...  10 photo's in all.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tried and Failed

Stock Photo, not mine...

  “It is better to have tried and failed, than to have never tried at all.”
(or... “Thank the emperor for simple green!”)

  That may not be the full, or even correct quote, but for my purposes, it works perfectly.

  It’s the truth.  I have had a part of the honored imperium set, the fallen aquilla, on my desk for a long time.  I have been working on it, adding a highlight here, a shade there, for a couple of months.  I got it to the point I thought it was done. 

  Then I saw the one that the Warhammer Lady did on her blog...  Yep, that was it for my model.  I just pulled it out of the simple green tub that I use to strip models.  I learned a big lesson here.  It’s not that hers is something I am going to copy or anything like that.  It’s that mine was bad, and no amount of “tweaking” it was going to fix it.  Now, my statue from that set (shown here in this post) is a model I really like and think came out great.  But the aquilla never really worked for me, and instead of stripping it and starting over, I tried to fix it half a hundred times.

  Sometimes it just makes sense to start over.  I am doing a whole new set of tactical marines because I changed the “fluff” of my chapter.  I have redone the scheme on my drop pod and several vehicles to fit the new chapter, why did I hesitate so long on the aquilla? 

  I'll tell you.  A mistaken belief that it was salvageable.  That’s why.  I thought I could save it.  That is an attitude I have to learn to leave behind.  I’m not saying that every time you paint a fig you should be so self-critical that you immediately plop into the stripper vat.  But I learned that I need to be a little more at ease with the thought of tossing something into the vat that deserves a fresh new start.  It is not defeat, it is learning and growth.  That’s all.  I didn’t want to start over because I feared I was giving up on my painting skills.  Nah, I’m just learning that I can do better and I need to embrace that and quit trying to save the dead patient.

  “Damnit Jim, I’m a doctor, not a bricklayer...”

More on the aquilla later!  Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Review: Let's Paint Black Templars

  Call me crazy, if you like, but I like painting tutorial videos.  I seem to be able to pick up something from every one I watch, no matter how bad they might be.  This 2 DVD set from AGProductions is not bad, in fact it's the best I have seen to date, save for the GW "How to Paint..." DVD.

  The DVD I bought was, oddly enough, Let's Paint Black Templars.  I wondered when I clicked "buy it now" how the producer could possible spend 4 hours (2 DVDs) on BTs.  I mean, really, slap on the black, pick out some white and metallics and bammo, you're done.

  Not so fast.  Christopher Davidson starts off with the very basics, how to build the marine in a way that makes it crazy easier to paint.  I had always left the bolter off the fig, but Christopher has a way better take on how to do things, and the one Marine I have painted so far shows the effect of this improvement.  (No, I'm not going to divulge all his tips in the review, buy one of his videos for that :)

  Christopher then goes on to talk about all the normal stuff, but he uses an approach you don't normally see on youtube vids, and I think it works darn well.  Especially his take on edging, which I have never seen done anywhere before and is great for someone like me (old, with brush control issues :).

  Just for those alone, the $15 price tag is justified, but wait... there's more.  Seriously, at $15 these are some of the least expensive DVDs I have seen and you get 4-ish hours of instruction.  The production value of the DVDs is great.  The steps he uses are clear and in focus, most of the time.  Every now and then he may drift the area being painted out of the camera, but he corrects it right away.  You're not going to find yourself annoyed by this, but it happens once or twice.  He has a very moderated voice that does not grate on your nerves over the duration of the video.  His words are well thought out and it does not seem scripted at all.

  And best of all??  There is NO FREAKING BACKGROUND MUSIC.  DVD producers take note, background music SUX!  I don't care how much you really love that loop from your favorite (crappy) band, hearing it loop 500 times while you tell me how to paint is FREAKING LAME.  STOP IT.  For the love of god, at least turn it down.  Some videos I own (see this review, not mentioning names) have music so annoyingly loud that you cannot hear the speaker, and it's not like it's good music either.  It's crappy loops, you see them on YouTube all the time.  Why people?  WHY????

  If the DVD has any weak spots, it's the menu/navigation again.  I know what a pain it is to author DVDs with menus that work in every machine and computer, so I don't harp on this too much.  I have 6 computers here and 2 different DVD players that I use frequently, and as usual, the menus work great with the mouse and keyboards on the computers, but less so on the dedicated DVD players.

  All in all, this video gets an A grade, or 90 out of 100 on the DVD coolness scale.  It is not for general use painting, it is very Black Templar specific, but the techniques are usable anywhere.  Production and sound quality are GREAT.  Content is top-notch.  Alongside the Hot Lead DVD's and the GW How To Paint Citadel Miniatures, this video stands up very well.  Kudos to the author!!

Ciao for now...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Templars Sanguine ver 0.1

  Well, here they are.  Had some time this evening so I took a swing at painting a test fig for the Templars Sanguine.  This is a test fig I did up to look at the paint scheme up close.  I kind of like it.  The photo's don't really do the Hawk Turquoise justice (Sotek Green, I guess it is called now).

  I do like the starkness of the contrast between the Green and the Red.  You won't lose sight of these guys on the table, but they also don't scream out in Neon highlights. 

  I am wondering what this will look like on some Characters.  My captain and Librarian are waiting for a shiny new coat of paint and I'm still really hesitant to do them.  Anxiety of a lamer-painter :)

  Once I get to the edging and highlighting, I think they will be ok for large scale production.  I used a lot of tips I got from a new tutorial DVD I have that I will be reviewing shortly.  Best DvD I have gotten so far, I must say. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Chapter Changes

 Fare well, Templars Mordain.... Hellllloooo  Templars Sanguine

  Like all good things aborning, the chapter has changed yet again.  I am forced to make my home-brewed chapter a descendant of the Blood Angels rather than the Black Templars as I had previously thought.  There are several reasons for this, but most important, was the desire to have a Storm Raven and Furioso Dreads available to my lists.  I also love the thought of painting up a group of Sanguinary guards as well.  Of course, you have to take the good with the bad, so it means I will have the Red Thirst as well.

  Another reason is the fact that, while I still love the Black Templars, the style they have and the 'fluff' is not my favorite.  I have some personal reasons for liking them and wanting to use them though.  So, the story is simple, I'm at the FLGS (Active Imagination) Friday night and my friend Matt says, "look, they have a Furioso Dreadnought".  Well that just tore it completely.  I had been edging toward the boys in red for some time and that just sealed the deal.  (I love the way he spends my money... LOL)  Not to mention the fact that we had been to the GW store in Denver (Square One) a few weeks before and I picked up the Angels Codex.

  The new banner is simple, yet defined, IMHO.  At the top you have the symbology for new chapter, a sort of amalgamation of the two progenitor chapters, Blood Angels and Black Templars.  These are stylized a bit and the red is deepened a bit.  Next down is the Aquilla for the Emperor (Praise to the throne) followed by the crossed swords with Loyalty Banner.  This is an important symbol.  It represents the ideology from my fluff for the desire of the chapter to be seen as loyal.  Both progenitors have had their loyalty questioned in the past, and the leaders of the new chapter wanted to display in no uncertain terms what they mean to address going forward.  Under that is the Laurel wreath to represent the chapter's honors to come.  Rather than a resplendent display of all their past glory's (of which there are none, new chapter and all.) they put the wreath here to stand for all the glories of the combined forces.  The chapter banner name in blue is beneath that.  The three peals at the bottom of the banner are, homages to the progenitors.  The center peal, with the flaming skull represents the new chapters desire to strike hard and fast from above.

  So, my new paint scheme will be more like this...
Templars Sanguine

  I'm hoping to get going on this soon, although I'm not sure what to do with the first squad I painted already.  Maybe I'll just refer to them as the old "11th Company..."

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Review: Vallejo Surface Primer

Vallejo Surface Primers
  So, it's been pretty cold around here lately.  That means no priming, and that means no painting.  I'm not liking that!

  Surfing around the Vallejo website, I came across their Surface Primer line of paints.  I did some research and a lot of people really like these primers.  Well, off to the War Store to get my order filled and a week or so later, I'm in business again!  And what kind of business it this.  This stuff is GREAT!

  I have always been  user of GW's primer line (Chaos black and Skull white) and I have never really had reason to doubt them.  I have always liked the black better than the white though.  The white seems to go on powdery sometimes, and yes, I am not spraying too far away.  I have tried what some other folks had mentioned, Krylon and the Hobby Lobby brands, but I always found them lacking in some way or another.  Either they were not smooth or they were splotchy.  Suffice to say, I always ended up back with GW primer, paying the huge GW tax for the great name on the can.

  There really is not a whole lot you can say about primers.  They need to do some very simple things.  Bond well to the surface your priming (plastic, resin or pewter, in my case) is the most important thing.  They also need to be tough, resistant to damage from rough handling.  If the primer chips off, all your hard work painting goes with it.  Lastly, they need to be thin to not hide any surface detail and provide a smooth surface to paint on.  GW's black primer had always done all that for me, or so I thought.

  Enter the Vallejo Surface Primers. These come in plastic bottles (17ml, 60ml and 200ml).  Vallejo says they can be brushed or airbrushed on.  I tested both, Vallejo is right.  Brush painting the primer on is a breeze (with a decent quality brush... see this post).  It flows on nicely, dries very smoothly and is very thin.  As long as you don't glob it on, brushing this stuff on will yield results much akin to using a rattle can.

  Then came the airbrush.  To be honest, the wife was sleeping and I didn't want to fire up the compressor while she rested.  Once she was up, I was able to break out the older airbrush (an Iwata revolution CR).  I used the Iwata because it is a .3mm brush and the Renegade Krome is a .21mm.  I had heard that the primer sprays better at the .3mm size.  I did thin it about 1 part primer to 1/2 part mix of Tamiya Acrylic thinner (X20) and Golden Airbrush Medium.

  It sprayed on like a dream.  It covered really well and dried very quickly.  I did some drop tests from about 8 inches to my wooden tabletop after letting it dry for 12 hours and no chips.  Best of all, the surface is baby-skin smooth and accepts paint like... well... like a primer.  Best of all, I can paint prime my figs inside without all the hellish fumes!!!  And who cares how cold it is outside?  As a side note, the white is every bit as good as the black, and WAY better than the GW skull white!

  All in all, this is GREAT primer.  If you need it, run, don't walk to get this stuff!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

iPad Software: Quartermaster

Quartermaster Icon
  I just recently purchased Quartermaster for the iPad.  I had tried it a few times in the past, but never really considered it.  This time I tried to actually use it to build a list and went through all it's features.  I have to say, it's pretty darn good.

  First off - It is not Army Builder or even Battlescribe.  It will not prompt you through to make a completely legal and certified tournament list.  If you are not sure if certain combinations of weapons/effects can be used, you will need the codex by your side. 

  That said, if you know what you are doing, and do not want/need your hand held during the list building process, this is a GREAT portable list builder.  You get all the options and none of the overhead.

  To start, you have to get the program, here are the links;

Quartermaster Web Site Link

iTunes direct link

  Then you will need Templates.  Templates are the files used by the program to generate the lists and all the assorted options that come with those lists.  You can either download the Template files or make them yourself.  I'm a lazy bugger, so I downloaded them.  There is a great site for them here;

QM Templates website for Quartermaster Template Files

  Keep in mind, the template files are separate from the program for the same reasons that they are separate for Army Builder and such, Intellectual property/copyright/oh bugger off rules.  It's not a problem with the program or the software, it's just the silly rules we live by.
  Now that you have everything installed, build lists to your hearts content.  It really is as simple as tapping to add the unit, then tap the unit's name to add options to it (like Force Swords and Heavy Bolters and Lascannons, oh my!)  From the main screen, you will see a listing of all your lists built so far (or the two demo lists that come pre-made).  AT the top right is all the menu items.  YOu can edit the templates (or add your own) from here.  The Star button is nice, it allows you to designate favorite lists which are then moved up the screen to be at the top for easy access.  The blue + button makes a new list.  It does not ask for point limits or what rulesets you will be using.  That is up to you.  It does keep a running total of your list points though.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Crusade of Fire

So, I'm one of those that went out and ordered GWs new Crusade of Fire book as soon as it was available to order. Two reasons, 1) I much rather to play campaign format games and 2) I have always been intrigued by the Planetary Empires set.

To be honest, I did not know the campaign system was a build on, or refinement to the planetary empires set. At least not when I bought it. That doesn't bother me, but it may turn off some folks. It kind of makes me think the book was a vehicle to sell more sets of hexes. (But that is why GW is in business, right?)

The campaign system presented in the book is really quite good, I think. The crusade covers two forces, space marines and chaos. There is a third faction, but Moreno that later. The campaign system uses the planetary empires sets to track the status of the campaign, but that is not really necessary. You can track it all using paper, or even computer programs. There is an iPad app I just got called Hex Map Pro that would work perfectly.

They really suggest using a GM for the campaign, and I tend to agree. They do show how the gm can be players as well. It's all well presented. They show how the the three turns, or phases of the campaign play out, and it is really quite engaging. For once, when reading something from GW, I felt like it was them having fun, and not just selling product or playing it a pre-planned battle report.

The campaign is a fight for a system that has just recently emerged from a warp storm. As the campaign plays out, more planets are revealed to be fought over. Very cool idea for changing the layout of homemade campaigns. What's very odd is the third faction in the fight. It feels tacked on, like a last minute change to a planned thing. Still, the third faction shows you how to shoe-horn a new player or faction into your own deal.

Overall, I think the campaign system is great, and the presentation is great as well. They show how to add all kinds of spice to the campaign system without bogging it down too much. The real beauty is how you can use this system to do your own campaigns using the ideas and building blocks they have given you in the book.

As a bonus, in the back of the book are rules for demon worlds, a gladiator combat system for independent characters and a dogfight system for aircraft in 40k games.

Demon world rules are great. Hands down the most bad-ass section of the book.

Dogfight rules are fun and look like they might play well. They don't seem like they will add too much overhead or extra time to a game, but they do add some time, so caveat emptor... Basically it's like challenges for aircraft. There are three sub-phases that get played out when a dogfight starts, and chances to make choices in each. A table is used to cross reference you and your opponents choices and see what happens. In the dogfight section is also special maneuvers and a few pages of upgrades you can buy in your list for your flyers. (pilots with mad skillz).

The gladiator combat system is comical at best. It would be a fun sideboard thing to do while your waiting for your next tourney slot or whatever. It is horridly balanced, but as long as you both approach it in good fun, it looks like it could be fun. You basically agree on a point value for an IC then go toe to toe in the ring. You use cards that you photocopy from the book to control the fight and how the crowd likes you. It's pretty simple, and might be a fun distraction for a while.

All in all, I found it to be a great book. My problem is the price. I generally don't knock gw for their pricing, but this book seems a little over the top to me. It's not all that thick but it does deliver on what it says it will. It was a limited release, and that's something I hope they don't make a habit of. I don't mind the occasional limited release, but this is a campaign source book? Why a limited release?

Well, that's about it. Hope it helps you decide if your gonna pop on that eBay auction, since that's about the only way to get it now...